Why is a good credit score important?

  • The higher credit score you have, the more likely it is an application for a credit cardpersonal loan, mortgage, overdraft or car finance etc. will be accepted. 
  • More favourable interest rates and terms might also be offered to lower risk applicants, with a proven history of paying credit well. 
  • Your credit score can also influence how much credit you’re offered. 
  • Bad credit might even affect you getting a job in certain sectors, like legal or financial services. 

Can you improve your credit score quickly?

Building your credit score is something you can do over time. You’ll find some tips about how you can do this in the next section.

Be aware though, if you’ve had issues with credit previously, any Defaults, County Court Judgements (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) and bankruptcies can affect your credit score for up to six years.

How do credit scores work? 

There are 3 main credit reference agencies in the UK, who collect information about you from public records, lenders and other service providers, before working out a 'credit score'. 


When you apply for credit, lenders and service providers usually contact their preferred credit reference agencies to check your credit record, highlighting any potential risk of offering you credit.


More about credit scores

Improving your credit score

Register to vote

Being on the electoral roll - sometimes known as the ‘voter’s roll’ -  is a good way to confirm your identity and home address, which could improve your credit score.

Don’t move around

Having the same address for a long time could also show stability.

Manage your spending

Having a lot of debt close to its credit limit on a regular basis could suggest you rely on credit.

Mix things up

Having various types of credit, like loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, shows you can manage different borrowing. Not using credit at all, on the other hand, could keep your credit score low, even if your income’s high.

Long-term is best

Having active credit accounts that have been open for a long time could help your credit score.

Manage accounts properly

Things like arrears, missed, late or defaulted payments, and going over agreed credit limits could show on your credit report and might bring you score down.

Figure out what matters

As well as mortgage, credit card, loan, car finance, and overdraft repayments, how you manage store cards, mobile phone contracts, TV subscriptions, and other household bills might influence your credit score too.

Make sure everything’s as it should be

If you notice anything reporting incorrectly about you with the credit reference agencies, you could submit a data dispute to the relevant agency. They’ll then investigate it and update their records.

Reduce existing balances

Keeping your existing debit balances to a minimum is a good idea, as lenders are less likely to offer you new credit if they feel you’re overstretched.

Your account counts

Always have enough in your bank account to cover payments, as this could boost your credit score.  Direct Debits for regular payments can help with this.

Apply sparingly

Too many full applications in a short time period might affect your credit score - regardless of whether you’re accepted or not. Look for ‘soft’ credit checks offered by some lenders instead, as you can check your eligibility without jeopardising your credit score.

Joint accounts

Any bank accounts, mortgages or utility bills you have with someone else could create a financial link between you. So, if they don’t have a good credit score, it could impact your credit eligibility. 

To remove any associations with people you’re no longer linked to, you’ll need to submit a notice of disassociation with each credit reference agency. 

Tackle financial difficulties

If you’re struggling with your finances,  you could get help and support from lenders and independent third-party organisations. Getting help early can stop things becoming worse, like Defaults, County Court Judgements (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs), and bankruptcy.

A quick recap

Here’s what you’ve learnt about credit scores.

  • Credit scores are worked out by UK credit reference agencies.
  • Checking your credit record is usually part of lenders' and service providers’ decision-making process when you apply for credit. 
  • A good credit score usually means you’re more likely to be offered favourable interest rates and credit limits. 
  • A lower credit score might mean you have limited experience of managing finances, or you’ve had credit issues in the past, which could make you a higher risk for lenders.  
  • Improving your score might be possible over time, if you manage accounts well and don’t make too many credit applications.
  • Credit reference agencies can hold differing information about you, so check your credit scores and reports with TransUnion, Experian and Equifax

Keep reading

Know where you stand with MBNA

Sign up for ‘Your Credit Score’. We’ve partnered with TransUnion to provide you with access to your credit score. It’s free to use and won’t impact your credit file.

  • View your updated credit score every 28 days.
  • See what you’re doing well. 
  • Understand what you can do that might help to improve your score. 
  • Find out how your score compares to the UK average.

More on Your Credit Score